Dianna Parks

Dianna Parks is the Executive Director of Good Earth Village in Minnesota. She has also been part of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She has an interesting perspective about faith at work and the role it can play when we live as followers of Christ and not just believers of Christ.

Loving Those Around Us in the Workplace

Dianna Parks: I've been thinking a lot about how Jesus taught us about faith, hope, and love, and that the greatest of these is love. If we have a love that's big enough to encompass the whole world and that love is expressed as taught to us by Jesus, maybe then we can start finding a path to bringing love and Jesus into the workplace.

I would hope that someone could see how I live my life and assume I'm a person of faith without me telling them that. I used to work at the Mayo Clinic and the Mayo Clinic is where desperately sick people show up. Sometimes as a last ditch to have their life saved And I had a friend, a colleague, tell me, if you're ever having a hard day and you need to remember what we do and why we're here, just go for a walk. I went for a walk on this Friday afternoon and there was a piano. There is a piano in this huge atrium, like a three story marble atrium is extraordinary, and these, oh God, sorry...So in this big atrium, there were these children around a piano singing Jesus Loves Me. And they were all bald. They were all in twos and gowns, and it was truly one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

I used to work in a place where God worked through doctors and caring, compassionate people, and now I get to serve a place where we're working on the inside. Now we have work that we are asked to heal the soul.

The Power of Prayer in the Workplace

When it comes to the idea of whether somebody checks him or herself at the door. I can say that it was profoundly impactful to me to be in a workplace where we pray together to the degree that we can develop tools and help people see the benefit of allowing that part of our lives in, the relationships deepen. Trust deepens, compassion, deepens. We're more eager to help each other. We feel more at home. In terms of outcomes and productivity, it creates a commitment to place and a commitment to the people that you're around in a way that I've never experienced before. We have this common thing, this faith and yours might look different than mine, but it is all right because we respect and trust that that's the place that we're coming from. I don't think people can go to work without their faith. Faith doesn't have to be specific to a building.

I actually, a colleague of mine gave a devotion at a meeting a few years ago and he said, we go into church and we have a 40 foot faith. Well, in outdoor ministry, one of the things we get to teach is you get expansive, universal, galaxy, big faith. It doesn't live inside a building. It doesn't live at 9:00 AM on Sunday.

One of the most important relationships in my life happened because I took the time to walk into someone's office, close the door, and ask if he was okay.

Be Who God Made You to Be

The best advice I could give someone who is wondering how to do this, step number one is to be authentically you. That's what God wants us to be. What would it feel like to be in an organization where people are 100% present? We get to evolve. We get to try. That is one thing, working in a medical institution, especially research medical institution, that I became one of those life philosophies for me is we know what we know because we tried it and it worked or it didn't, and we usually learn better from the things that don't work.

Is it worth trying to get the benefit of having a place of work where people show up a hundred percent, where people build trust and have compassion for one another, where people feel like they can lay it all out on the table and they're going to receive grace back because they know that as a man of faith, you're going to look at me when I really blunder and I blunder plenty, but I know that I can come and be honest with you about that because you're going to have grace for me and help me solve it together.

Jesus said, come and follow me. Our responsibility is to live as we are followers of Jesus and not merely believers in Jesus. I usually say God walks behind me with a hand between my shoulders saying, "One more step, one more step, another step today, another step today." But God is in front of us, behind us, around us, inside of us, through us, so we can't do it wrong. It doesn't have to be prideful. It's not about being boastful. It's not saying I'm right and you're wrong. It's about saying, I in this moment, am a person who I need to pray about this right now. I need to. I want to need to, and I'd love it if... wherever two or more gathered in my name, I am with you. That's powerful.

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